The Artist’s Artist: The Best Stuart Immonen Art
Stuart Immonen is an artist’s artist. In fact, that’s probably not going far enough. It’s probably more accurate to say that he’s an artist’s artist’s artist. That’s not easy to say, but it’s not easy to have a career like Stuart Immonen, so he’s earned it.
With the recent arrival of the fantasy/science-fiction epic in the making Empress, his new creator-owned book with writer Mark Millar, there’s no better time to take a look back at Immonen's incredible body of work with a collection of some of his best covers and splash-pages.
For close to thirty years, Immonen has been drawing comics and constantly evolving and improving his craft. From his stretch drawing the Legion of Super-Heroes in the early 1990s for DC with writers Mark Waid and Tom McGraw, to his time working as both a writer and artist on Superman titles following the character’s resurgence after his death and return, Immonen was immediately a talent that could not be ignored. His ability to carry the artistic weight of a company-wide event was first proven in 1996 with DC’s The Final Night, and again in 2011 with Marvel’s Fear Itself. Immonen's work with Warren Ellis on the genre-bending post-superhero/secret agents on the run/anti-establishment action comedy, Nextwave: Agents of HATE, and on the webcomic, Never As Bad As You Think, which he created with his wife Kathryn Immonen, showed his versatility as a cartoonist that knew how to get the most comedic effect out of every wild, flailing overreaction as well as a subtle, sly look.
His amazing work on titles like All-New X-Men, Ultimate Spider-Man, All-New Captain America, and Star Wars in recent years for Marvel has displayed his wizardry with explosive, energetic action, but it’s his work on 2004’s Superman: Secret Identity mini-series with writer Kurt Busiek that truly showcases just how masterfully he can change styles and conquer them all. His work on Secret Identity feels so real and genuine it’s easy to imagine you’re just watching a movie, but Immonen manages this without the art ever looking stiff or lifeless or traced. He makes you fear for your life at the lead character’s rage, and then takes your breath away with a beautiful sunset.
If you haven’t checked out any of Immonen’s work before, or if you just weren’t aware of how sprawling and impressive his career has been, hopefully this gallery will move you to investigate further.
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